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 Satsuma Plum Drops Fruit 
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Joined: Sun Jan 29, 2012 6:18 pm
Posts: 31
Location: Eugene, OR
Post Satsuma Plum Drops Fruit
Does anyone know how to get a Satsuma plum to produce fruit? I have a 6-year old Satsuma plum in Eugene that has never produced much of anything -- at most it gets 1 or two plums. It seems to get pollinated and gets many tiny plums, but drops them all. It pollinates with a Santa Rosa plum that also produces next to nothing. The nursery where I bought it suggested adding boron to the soil. I added this last year as boric acid and am waiting and hoping for plums this year. Anybody know if this works?


Tue Apr 17, 2012 11:05 am
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Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 11:27 pm
Posts: 1151
Location: Yamhill County, Oregon
Post Re: Satsuma Plum Drops Fruit
I have a mature Satsuma–Shiro combo that's fairly consistent, except for the previous two extremely wet and cool ‘Springs.’ I had very few of either last year. As the weather in Eugene wasn’t likely any warmer or dryer, that can account for the last two years.

Being your tree is only 6, it could/should/would have set a half-decent crop at age 4, which is still relatively young, depending on how old it was at planting and how it's been pruned. If allowed to go ‘leggy,’ they will – sacrificing fruit production for vegetative growth.

I’ve got a ‘self built’ multi-grafted Asian plum who’s 'producing limbs' are just now 4 years old, and blooming well. The base tree (plum rootstock) was two when grafted. If, and as this Spring's been in some ways worse then the previous two ...if I get a decent set of fruit I’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Just watch that the Santa Rosa is blooming at the same time as the Satsuma, the Satsuma should bloom first. You may consider grafting (Asian plumbs are fairly easy to graft) a Shiro limb for additional pollination. If the tree's putting out blooms, it’s ready to set fruit. If not, something else is at fault. Wet lazy honey bees and washed out pollen are my suspicion. Let’s wish us luck ~

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Tue Apr 17, 2012 4:17 pm
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Joined: Sun Jan 29, 2012 6:18 pm
Posts: 31
Location: Eugene, OR
Post Re: Satsuma Plum Drops Fruit
Thanks Viron. I will keep an eye on the pruning. I did let it go a bit and am trying to reign it back in. I do think it is getting pollinated, since I had a shiro until last year when I had to cut it out due to a bark canker that was killing the tree. Last two "springs" were very hard on these early trees with leaf curl and general coldness/wetness. They seem much better this year. Maybe the boron and pruning will bring some plums.

What rootstock do you like for your plums? I have a very wet clay soil, so I need somthing that can handle this, as well as some summer dryness.


Tue Apr 17, 2012 5:42 pm
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Joined: Sun May 15, 2005 10:57 am
Posts: 1351
Location: Portland, OR
Post Re: Satsuma Plum Drops Fruit
I had Santa Rosa for a few years. It tasted great and produced sometimes. Then it caught a disease and never produced again. I have read from many others that it is not really recommended for the PNW, more for California.

Your Satsuma needs a pollinator. If Santa rosa doesn't produce viable flowers, or at a different time, then it won't work. Hollywood (purple leaf, light pink flower) is immensely productive and reliable here. Tastes great. I have seen and heard that Shiro, Beauty and Methley do well also.
John S
PDX OR


Wed May 09, 2012 8:38 pm
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Joined: Sun Jan 29, 2012 6:18 pm
Posts: 31
Location: Eugene, OR
Post Re: Satsuma Plum Drops Fruit
John,
Much thanks for the plum suggestions. I will look into the Hollywood. I had a shiro that produced very well, I didn't love the fruit that much and the tree got a bark canker and had to be removed.

The Satsuma is not going to produce much of anything again this year. This is in spite of pruning and addition of boron last year. I have a young Santa Rosa, which should pollinate it. The Satsuma is a healthy tree, but I think the blossoms come about a week too early. They get beat up by cold and wet weather and nothing is really blooming quite as early hear in the PNW.

I think Satsuma should be on the local "do not plant" list. The Santa Rosa also may go on this list too.

Since it's a healthy tree, I am thinking of top-grafting it over to a Brooks, which is supposed to do well here.


Thu May 10, 2012 9:19 am
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Joined: Sun May 15, 2005 10:57 am
Posts: 1351
Location: Portland, OR
Post Re: Satsuma Plum Drops Fruit
Don't graft Brooks Euro plum on Satsuma or Santa Rosa Asian plum. OK to graft Asian onto Euro, not the other way around. Long -term compatibility issues. Many plums will actually grow from cuttings. Try it. I dare ya.
John S
PDX OR


Thu May 10, 2012 9:53 pm
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Joined: Sun Jan 29, 2012 6:18 pm
Posts: 31
Location: Eugene, OR
Post Re: Satsuma Plum Drops Fruit
John,
Thanks for the warning. I already have a few Brooks grafts on the Satsuma from last year and this year. They seem to be doing very well -- lots of growth. Can you tell me a little more about what the compatability issues are? Do you mean long-term as in tree health and lifespan?

We have very heavy, wet clay soil, so I treasure any rootstock that does not die in a few years. Yes, I elevate the trees as much as possible - 10 inches or so. I have noticed that the purple leaf landscaping plums do very well in this soil and was wonder if they would make a good rootstock.


Fri May 11, 2012 9:06 am
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Joined: Sun May 15, 2005 10:57 am
Posts: 1351
Location: Portland, OR
Post Re: Satsuma Plum Drops Fruit
Yes, I have grown the purple leafed plums at both of my houses in the last 17 years and they do well in wet clay. I have grafted onto both but only with Asian plums. Yes, long-term compatibility. You might get a few years out of them. Maybe never any fruit, but just limbs that fall off after 5 years. Not my goal in grafting.
John S
PDX OR


Fri May 11, 2012 10:11 pm
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Joined: Sun Jan 29, 2012 6:18 pm
Posts: 31
Location: Eugene, OR
Post Re: Satsuma Plum Drops Fruit
THanks for saving me 5 years of waiting!


Sun May 13, 2012 9:51 am
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